Supro Delta King 12: What is it?
Supro’s Delta King series offers three compact tube amp combos with big shoes to fill. The Supro Blues King 12 (opens in new tab) was a superb option for those looking for enough power for small gigs but not so much that you couldn’t use it at home. Its low noise floor meant it was recorded well, too.
Why Supro pulled the pin on it might remain a mystery but the apple has not fallen far from the tree with the Delta King. This fully analogue 1x12” combo is the largest in a series that comprises 1x10” and 1x8” models. Like its predecessor, it is built for those who appreciate the simple things in life.
There are 15-watts of power, placing it in the same category as Fender’s Princeton Reverb (opens in new tab) and Blues Junior (opens in new tab), though the price tag and 12” speaker tells us that it’s the latter who it is competing with for our affections. It sure looks the part, available with four black racing stripes on dark blonde tweed with cream piping, or with white stripes on black.
The front panel has dials for Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, Reverb and Master, with toggle switches to activate the FET-driven boost and for the Pigtronix FAT high-gain mode. On the rear, there are inputs for a power amp and a two-button, latching footswitch that can turn those boost and drive modes on and off, plus a line out offering a buffered preamp output that can be sent directly for recording or through another amplifier.
The power amp input is interesting; it allows you to bypass the preamp and use the amp as a Class A power amp – handy if you are using a preamp pedal or a digital amp modeller and want some old-school tube power to play it through. The Delta King might look resolutely old-school but it is an excellent example of how practical such designs can be in the 21st century.
Supro Delta King 12: Performance and verdict
Looking through the series, it’s clear that Supro is keen to serve the small amp aficionado with some combos offering a domesticated tube tone, and yet, the Delta King 12 is eminently giggable – particularly if you don’t need heaps of clean headroom. It certainly won’t let you down, playing the pub circuit.
That boost feature certainly gets it over the hill. It also makes the Delta King 12 quite a versatile amplifier, all things considered.
• Fender Blues Junior IV (opens in new tab)
No matter what guitar you use, the Blues Junior flatters single coils and humbuckers alike, not to mention drive pedals with plenty of volume.
• Blackstar Studio 10 6L6 (opens in new tab)
Not only for studios but also for home, backstage and small gigs, the Studio 10s are great amps producing boutique-quality tone at a very compelling price.
With both boost and the drive mode off, the tone is vintage clean with a honeyed quality that does well to complement the bracing treble of a Telecaster single-coil pickup and support the warmth and width of a Les Paul’s humbuckers.
Diming everything and rolling back the volume control and you’ll find this makes a very dynamic mouthpiece for your electric guitar, cleaning up nicely for mellower passages while presenting heaps of toothy grit at full bore.
There’s a pleasing amount of gain for rock players to get stuck into already, but throw an overdrive pedal in front of this and the saturation is rich, musical and addictive.
The spring reverb is organic and natural, adding a sense of space, but to really get into the spirit of the Delta King 12 a tremolo pedal and tape echo emulation would make for a serious vintage rock ’n’ roll rig.
MusicRadar verdict: The retro styling offers a few clues as to the kinds of sounds on the menu, but with its switchable drive and FET boost, allied to line out and power amp inputs, the Delta King 12 makes for a versatile and practical take on vintage tube combo.
Supro Delta King 12: The Web Says
“The Delta King 12 is loud enough for pub gigs with the boost engaged, and really throws a physical punch that belies its small and portable dimensions…The FET-driven overdrive is more flexible than the vintage look may suggest; especially with P-90s and our brighter SG ’buckers.
“If you’re willing to adjust your drive from the guitar’s volume (and you should) it can go from harder rock to sweet blues drive without touching a pedal. Our Junior-style guitar shines in this context.”
Total Guitar (opens in new tab)
Supro Delta King 12: Hands-on demos
60 Cycle Hum
Supro Delta King 12: Specifications
- TYPE: All-valve combo 15-watt combo amp
- OUTPUT: 15-watt
- VALVES: 12AX7 preamp, Class A 6L6 power amp
- CONTROLS: Master volume, Volume, Standby, Power, Boost, Drive, Treble, Mid, Bass,
- SOCKETS: Boost/Drive footswitch-in, Line out, Power Amp input
- WEIGHT: 13kg
- DIMENSIONS: [HxWxD] 410 x 430 x 190mm
- FINISH: Tweed with black stripes (as reviewed), Black with cream stripes
- ALSO AVAILABLE: SF4 footswitch (£59)
- CONTACT: Supro (opens in new tab)